England v New Zealand: Front-row crisis as Alex Corbisiero is ruled out of Twickenham showdown with All Blacks

Knee trouble sees loose-head prop join fellow front-rowers Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler on the casualty list

England's chances of turning the rugby world upside down for the second time in a year by beating the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday suffered a bitter blow when the loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero dropped out with knee trouble.

The Northampton player, one of the most accomplished scrummagers in the game, joins a second British and Irish Lions Test front-rower, Mako Vunipola, on the casualty list and with the third-string No 1 Joe Marler suffering from concussion, the national team was teetering on the edge of an injury crisis.

Marler may yet face the Kiwis: the Harlequins player is working his way through the standard medical protocols with a view to training fully on Thursday. But if there is any slippage in his recovery, England's staff will withdraw him from selection. That would leave the inexperienced Matt Mullan as the only fit loose-head specialist in the party.

As things stand, Mullan is assured of a place on the bench at the very least, almost four years after winning his one and only full cap in a Six Nations match against Italy. He has performed at a high level since moving from Worcester to Wasps at the end of last season and Graham Rowntree, the England forwards coach, expressed full confidence in him. Asked if he would be happy to see Mullan start this "vengeance match" against the world champions, who went down to a record defeat at Twickenham last year, he replied: "Absolutely. That's why he's here."

For all that, Corbisiero's latest orthopaedic breakdown is a serious setback. The 25-year-old has a long history of knee problems and his training regime is restricted as a result, but he remains an outstanding front-row forward, as he proved when he scrummaged the British and Irish Lions to victory over Australia in Sydney last July.

There was more bad news for the head coach, Stuart Lancaster, when Marland Yarde, the promising London Irish wing, dropped out of contention for a return to the starting line-up. His hip injury, allied to Christian Wade's continuing hamstring issues, means the much-criticised Chris Ashton and Ben Foden will keep their places in the back division.

As if this were not enough, Lancaster learnt that the Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi, who made such a dynamic contribution to beating the All Blacks last December, may miss the entire 2014 Six Nations tournament. Tuilagi tore a pectoral muscle and was hoping the injury would heal without surgery, thereby allowing him to resume before Christmas. It emerged that he went under the knife earlier this week and was now looking at another three months of enforced inactivity.

 

 

Get Adobe Flash player
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas